Category Archives: Pollution

Workers’ Rights and Pollution Control in Delhi (K.D. Alley & D. Meadows)

Authors

K.D. Alley & D. Meadows

Keywords

Human Rights, Environmental Rights, Constitutional Law, India, Right to a Clean Environment, Pollution

Abstract

Within India’s judicial interpretation of constitutional rights there exists a close link between environmental values and human rights. Yet in some instances court cases defending the right to a clean environment have actually jeopardized the job security of India’s poorest laborers and have led to abuses of human rights. One such example is the 1995 Supreme Court case MC Mehta v. Union of India, which ordered the closure and relocation of polluting industries in Delhi. In this instance the Court responded to middle-class appeals for pollution remediation through a broad reading of the constitution’s fundamental right to life principle, at the same time adversely affecting tens, even hundreds, of thousands of the city’s poorest workers.

The spotty interest of the government’s legislative and executive branches in addressing the environmental problems created by both private and public sector development initiatives has provided the impetus for legal activism in India. Parliament has enacted environmental legislation, but enforcement has been profoundly lax, and governmental pollution control boards have been lenient in regulating industrial and vehicular emissions and industrial and municipal waste treatment facilities. Moreover, projects involving air and water pollution, massive human displacement, and the destruction of natural ecosystems continue to go forward with the imprimatur of formal administrative approval, based on only perfunctory or formalistic compliance with regulatory norms.

Citation

(2004) 11 Human Rights Dialogue 15

Paper

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Adverse Effects of the Illicit Movement and Dumping of Hazardous, Toxic, and Dangerous Wastes and Products on the Enjoyment of Human Rights (C. U. Gwam)

Author(s)

Cyril Uchenna Gwam

Keywords

toxic waste, developing countries, development, human rights, UN Commission on Human Rights, environmental destruction, environmental protection

Excerpt

“Introduction

This Article discusses the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of hazardous, toxic, and dangerous wastes and products in developing countries, and the effect of such activities on the enjoyment of human rights, solely from the perspective of the resolutions of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The most prominent international instrument of this kind is the U.N. 1989 Basel Convention, to which other relevant human rights resolutions have made reference. In view of its prominence and importance, this Article analyzes the Basel Convention without losing its focus on human rights. […]” (428-9)

Citation

(2002) Florida Journal of International Law 14 Spring. pp. 427-74.

Paper

Adverse Effects of the Illicit Movement and Dumping of Hazardous, Toxic, and Dangerous Wastes and Products on the Enjoyment of Human Rights

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Human Rights and the Environment: The Need for International Co-operation (W. Gormley)

Author(s)

W. Paul Gormley

Keywords

human right to decent and safe environment, legal obligations, international community, human rights norms

Abstract

None available

Citation

(1976) Sijthoff

Paper

Human Rights and the Environment: The Need for International Co-operation

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Climate Change Adaptation and the Structural Transformation of Environmental Law (J. B. Ruhl)

Author(s)

J. B. Ruhl

Keywords

climate change, environmental law, greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation, mitigation, policy, pollution, land law, decision methods, regulation, conciliation

Abstract

The path of environmental law has come to a cliff called climate change, and there is no turning around. As climate change policy dialogue emerged in the 1990s, however, the perceived urgency of attention to mitigation strategies designed to regulate sources of greenhouse gas emissions quickly snuffed out meaningful progress on the formulation of adaptation strategies designed to respond to the effects of climate change on humans and the environment. Only recently has this “adaptation deficit” become a concern now actively included in climate change policy debate. Previously treating talk of adaptation as taboo, the climate change policy world has begrudgingly accepted it into the fold as the reality of failed efforts to achieve global mitigation policy has combined with the scientific evidence that committed warming will continue the trend of climate change well into the future regardless of mitigation policy success.

But do not expect adaptation policy to play out for environmental law the way mitigation policy has and is likely to continue. Mitigation policy has been framed as an initiative primarily within the domain of environmental law – a form of pollution control on steroids – and thus it will be environmental law that makes the first move and other policy realms that apply support or pushback. By contrast, environmental law does not “own” adaptation policy; rather, numerous policy fronts will compete simultaneously for primacy and priority as people demand protection from harms and enjoyment of benefits that play out as climate change moves relentlessly forward. This makes it all the more pressing for environmental law, early in the nation’s formulation of adaptation policy, to find its voice and establish its place in the effort to close the adaptation deficit.

Toward that purpose, this Article examines the context and policy dynamics of climate change adaptation and identifies ten trends that will have profound normative and structural impacts on how environmental law fits in: 1) Shift in emphasis from preservationism to transitionalism in natural resources conservation policy. 2) Rapid evolution of property rights and liability rules associated with natural capital adaptation resources. 3) Accelerated merger of water law, land use law, and environmental law. 4) Incorporation of a human rights dimension in climate change adaptation policy. 5) Catastrophe and crisis avoidance and management as an overarching adaptation policy priority. 6) Frequent reconfigurations of trans-policy linkages and trade-offs at all scales and across scales. 7) Shift from “front end” decision methods relying on robust predictive capacity to “back end” decision methods relying on active adaptive management. 8) Greater variety and flexibility in regulatory instruments 9) Increased reliance on multi-scalar governance networks. 10) Conciliation.

Citation

(2009) 40 Environmental Law 343

Paper

Climate Change Adaptation and the Structural Transformation of Environmental Law

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Environmental Principles and Environmental Justice (Pedersen)

Author

Ole W Pedersen

Keywords

Environmental justice, precautionary principle, polluter pays principle and sustainable development

Abstract

This paper aims at analysing the congruence between the well-established environmental law principles of precaution, prevention, polluter pays and sustainable development and environmental justice. While much can be said (and much has been said) about the principles, the aim of this paper is not to provide a full-fledged analysis of the principles. Instead, this paper aims to start a debate on the role of environmental justice as a concept and its compatibility with the more well-established norms of environmental policy and law. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, in light of the emergence of environmental justice as a concept in the UK and Europe, it is important to attempt to define the boundaries and meaning of the concept. Secondly, while environmental justice and its emphasis on fair distribution and processes on the face of it seems benign, it is important to subject the concept to critical scrutiny, given the possible implications of its claims of injustices. Equally, given the pervasiveness of the well-established environmental principles it becomes relevant to question these principles in the name of justice in an attempt to further debate about their longevity. The paper argues that for all three of the principles a comparison with environmental justice gives rise to conflicts as well as conformity. The main reason for this is the inherent ambiguity and inconsistency of environmental justice and the three principles.

Citation

Environmental Principles and Environmental Justice (April 20, 2010).

Publication

Environmental Principles and Environmental Justice

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